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Gammons on Wood

Postby MTUCache » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:10 pm

Peter Gammons made an appearance on Mike & Mike this morning, and made a point of mentioning how spectacular Kerry Wood had looked through ST thus far, and how his injury-risk would be minimized by coming out of the pen, even without any prompting on the subject by Mike&Mike.

This got me thinking that if anybody had any inside-info on the Cubs closer situation, it would be Gammons.... does he know something here about the clubs mess in the back end of their bullpen?

Any Cubbies ST junkies out there who have some insight for us? It would be extremely valuable information to have if Wood is going to edge out Dempster/Marmol to start the season as the closer.... the draft value of these three guys has been tied together pretty precariously thus far, and unravelling this puzzle before your draft could get you a top-shelf closer quite late in the draft.

Thanks for any info you guys might have. ;-D
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby BALCO All-Stars » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:51 pm

Dempster is vying for the 5th starter spot, so it's between Howry, Marmol, and Wood. I read some story a while ago that pointed out that Pinella (last year) preferred Howry over Marmol in pressure situations (there was a formula involved, just like with everything else that is baseball related). As of now, I can't honestly say anymore then that...I'm just not sure...I could easily see a Marmol 7th, Howry 8th, and a Wood 9th, but it wouldn't surprise me to see any other combination either...
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby SAKIC_19 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:37 pm

I think Wood has built into his contract where he gets a bonus if he 'finishes' a certain number of games. I am sure they used the broad language to include games where they get blown out if pitches the top of the 8th at home etc.

Makes me wonder if that'll put the pressure on the Cubs to give him the closer role. Food for thought.
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby redwings122 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:30 am

It would be nice to see Wood in the closers role. IMO he was built for it. Plus, he's just sitting pretty on my FA list.
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby RedHopeful » Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:26 am

The issue with Wood on becoming the closer has to do with his stamina/durability. The Cubs have said they want to see him be able to pitch 3 days in a row before considering him for the closer position. If he could do it, I think Pinella would make the switch to Wood....
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby Eagle Baseball » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:03 am

Sweet Lou is not a fan of Dempsters so Lou is willing to let Dempster fail as the the #5 starter just so he is not the closer.

Sweet Lou loves Marmol in the 5-7 innning range. He figures a game can be lost in one of those innings just as easy as in the 9th.

Sweet Lou does not trust Wood to go 2-3 days in a row like a closer needs to some times.

Without Dempster in the pen I think the plan was. Marmol than Wood in the 8th and Howry to close at the start of the season.

I did notice that Marmol pitched the 9th yesterday although it was not a save situation.
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby saemick » Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:40 pm

From everything I've been hearing locally, Howry will be the best bet to START the year at closer. I wouldn't be surprised to see Marmol (who has the best stuff) take over at some point though, but because of his youth and inexperience I don't think Lou wants to put the pressure on him immediately.

That being said, I like Wood, but I see him as a set-up guy for the majority of this season. I don't think they have full confidence in his stamina/ durability yet. Doesn't mean things won't change tomorrow though, you know how Lou likes to switch things up.
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby stealthdevil » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:56 pm

Its a three way competition for the closer's role and the competition has just started. So what has happened in spring training so far hasn't had any effect on the outcome. That said I agree that Howry will probably get the nod because of experience and durability.
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby MadDog36 » Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:11 pm

If you want to win take Howry outta the situation.

Make it Marmol first and foremost. He's winning the race, he's performed well.

Else I MIGHT give Wood a shot, maybe he can pull a Gagne/Smoltz and be dominate after being hurt.

Here's an article for you to read:

In past springs, if you wanted to watch Kerry Wood pitch, you often had to sneak over to the back field at HoHoKam Park. The right-hander was usually on a rehab assignment.
On Thursday, Wood made his third Cactus League appearance, facing the Oakland Athletics, and gave up one hit and struck out one in one inning.

"It's nice not to be on the back field hiding from [the media]," Wood said Thursday. "It's nice to get into games and get your work done and be ready the next day."

This is a different spring for the right-hander because he's not dealing with elbow problems or shoulder soreness or even bruises suffered while falling out of his hot tub (that was last year).

"It's nice to be healthy and feeling good," Wood said.

Wood finds himself now in a three-way race with Bob Howry and Carlos Marmol for the Cubs' closer's job. The radar guns have clocked Wood's fastball at 98 mph. When was the last time he hit that?

"Probably never -- I don't know," Wood said, smiling. "It's not really a goal. The ball's been coming out pretty good."

Howry pitched the fourth on Thursday, giving up one hit, but the runner was erased on a snazzy double play by shortstop Ryan Theriot and second baseman Mike Fontenot. Wood followed in the fifth. By pitching earlier in the game, Wood and Howry have a chance to see better hitters.

"It doesn't matter," Wood said about when he pitches. "Spring Training is really just organized practice. It doesn't matter to me."

Relievers have to be ready to pitch every day. Wood is getting used to that. On Thursday, he felt as if he could've pitched more than just the one inning. All three closer candidates have tried to downplay the competition.

"I've said the same thing from the start of camp -- I approach this like any camp and preparing for the season," Howry said. "I'm not going to go out there and try to do something different than I've done in the past just because of the situation."

Wood feels the same.

"Honestly, I haven't really thought about [closing]," Wood said. "It's not on my mind when I get up to go to work. It's just get ready for that day. I think the other two guys are the same way. They get ready every day and they're going to go out and do the job whether it's the seventh, eighth, or ninth. Those are all important innings.

"Obviously, the ninth is a little more nerve-wracking. Bobby is the only one of the three with experience doing that. Me and Carlos are going in blind, but [Marmol] closed some games this winter, so I'm the only one who hasn't done it yet."

Wood has thought about it.

"It'd be fun, nerve-wracking as well," Wood said. "You've got a lead or cough it up or we end up losing the game. It's solely on your shoulders. It's a tough spot to be in. Every team has one, and every guy who closes a game goes through the ups and downs of being a closer. It's not so much the day you give it up, but what you do the next day. It's a different mentality, but it's still important innings at the end of the game."

Wood saw how Rod Beck handled the highs and lows of the closer's job when Beck pitched for the Cubs from 1998-99.

"He was the best," Wood said of Beck, who saved 51 games in '98, Wood's first season, and one of his best. Wood won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in '98, going 13-6 with 233 strikeouts. He also had a 20-strikeout game.

"[Beck] was the best at shaking it off," Wood said. "When he came in the next day, he was ready to go to work and completely forgot about what happened the day before. That's what you have to do. It's easier said than done."

How long did it take Wood to get over a bad start?

"About a day," said the right-hander, who has started 178 games, and didn't switch to being a full-time reliever until last year. "Once you throw your bullpen in between starts, you figure out what you want to work on. It usually took a day or so. It depends on how bad [the start] was."

This was a different offseason for Wood. He actually took some time off and didn't have to spend his winter rehabbing.

"I wasn't working on any particular body part -- it was just getting in shape," Wood said of his offseason workouts.

Marmol had been scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Arizona, but the Cubs ran out of innings and he threw a side session. All went well. Lately, the team's problems haven't been the closer, but the seventh and eighth innings. On Thursday, the Athletics scored two runs in the eighth to post a 2-1 win over the Cubs.

"We talk so much about the closer situation," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Do you all notice what's happening in these games? The eighth inning is getting away from us and you don't need a closer. You can talk all you want about the closer situation, but you better get setup people who get you to the closer. Now you don't need them."

True, but whichever two pitchers don't get the closer's job -- and someone will be tabbed as "The Man" by mid-March -- will then switch to setup, and that's a good situation for the Cubs. And they'll all be pitching on the main field.

Wood has been nonchalant about the closer's job.

"I've been able to get excited before in the past, and things fall apart," he said. "I take it as it comes. I feel great, and really that's the only thing I'm worried about now."
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Re: Gammons on Wood

Postby AcidRock23 » Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:07 pm

I still think that the Cubs are going to to have a committee closing stuff. It will give Lou something to play with and offer some options in terms of matchups that will be of use too.
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